Two Grade 1 races – Hollywood Derby and the Matriarch—highlight a busy week of stakes action at Betfair Hollywood Park.
The $250,000 Derby, scheduled for 1 1-4 miles on turf, and the $250,000 Matriarch, at one mile on turf, will both be run Sunday, Dec. 1, the final day of the Turf Festival.
A field of nine to 11 is expected for the Matriarch, which is for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds & up.
Pamela Ziebarth’s Tiz Flirtatious is California’s best hope of holding off a slew of eastern invaders. Trained by Marty Jones, Tiz Flirtatious won the Grade I Rodeo Drive Sept. 28 and was second to Better Lucky in the 2012 Matriarch. The 5-year-old Tizbud mare was a better-than-looked sixth in the Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Turf Nov. 2.
Joel Rosario will be in from New York to ride. Rosario has been atop Tiz Flirtatious four times, winning three.
Godolphin Racing’s Better Lucky, who won last year’s Matriarch at 35-1, will be back to defend her crown for trainer Tom Albertrani. The Ghostzapper filly won the Grade I First Lady Oct. 5 at Keeneland under jockey Julien Leparoux, who will be aboard in the Matriarch, in her most recent start.
Chad Brown, who saw Frankel, Frankel et al’s Dayatthespa encounter a world of trouble in last year’s race, is back for another try with the 4-year-old City Zip filly. She was beaten a head by Better Lucky in the First Lady last time out. Javier Castellano flies in to ride. Brown will also enter multiple graded stakes winner Pianist (Mike Smith), owned by Hidden Brook Farm and Dan Zucker. The More Than Ready filly took down the Grade III Athenia Oct. 12 at Belmont Park.
Other likely starters include Patricia Generazio’s Discreet Marq (trainer Chistophe Clemente, no rider), winner of the Grade I Del Mar Derby Aug. 17, Glen Hill Farm’s Wishing Gate (Tom Proctor, Joe Talamo), victorious in the Grade III Autumn Miss Oct. 26, Little Red Feather Racing’s Egg Drop (Mike Mitchell, Martin Garcia), who won the Goldikova and Yellow Ribbon—both Grade II’s – in her last two outings, Conner and Jacobsen’s My Gi Gi (Peter Eurton, no rider), winner of the Grade II Honeymoon Handicap over this course, and Erica Gaunt’s Stormy Lucy (Frank Lucarelli, no rider).
On the fence for the Matriarch are Hoefflin, O’Farrell et al’s Halo Dolly (Jerry Hollendorfer, no rider) and Cunningham Stable’s Tasty Treat (Mike Pender, no rider).
In the Derby, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Admiral Kitten (Michael Maker, Leparoux) and Gary Barber’s Jack Milton (Todd Pletcher, Rosario) are set to renew their rivalry.
Admiral Kitten won the Grade I Secretariat Stakes Aug. 17 at Arlington Park, with Jack Milton 2 ¾ lengths behind in third. They hooked up again Oct. 5 at Belmont Park in the Grade I Jamaica, with Admiral Kitten holding off Jack Milton by a half-length for the place. The Ramseys also will be represented by Amen Kitten (Wesley Ward, no rider).
Britt and House’s Gabriel Charles (Jeff Mullins, Smith), has been a different horse since being introduced to the turf. The Street Hero colt captured the Grade II Del Mar Derby Sept. 1 and was a fast-finishing second in the Grade II Twilight Derby earlier this month.
Stronach Stables’ Rookie Sensation (John Shirreffs, Victor Espinoza) upset Gabriel Charles in the Twilight Derby and has shown improvement in every start.
Probable entrants also include Team Valor International’s Infinite Magic (Richard Metee, Talamo), winner of the Grade I American Derby July 13 at Arlington Park, Mr. K. Abdullah’s Seek Again (John Gosden, no rider), stakes winner at York, England in his last start, Oda Racing et al’s Dice Flavor (Paddy Gallagher, no rider), hero of the Grade II La Jolla Handicap Aug. 10 at Del Mar, and Gainesway Stable et al’s Irish Surf (Dan Hendricks, no rider), who broke his maiden July 6 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Britt and House’s Dry Summer (Mullins, no rider), a double stakes winner, remains a possibility.
The Turf Festival kicks off Friday with the 36th running of the Grade II, $250,000-guaranteed Citation Handicap at 1 1-16 miles.
A field of eight was drawn Sunday morning, headed by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer’s Silentio, third to reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile Nov. 2. The Silent Name colt is trained by Gary Mandella and will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano.
A pair of Grade III races for 2-year-olds – the $100,000 Generous and the $100,000 Miesque, which is restricted to fillies —headline Saturday’s card.
Derrick Smith et al’s Craftsman, a new arrival to the Simon Callaghan stable, tops the list of nominations for the Generous, which is open to all juveniles. Craftsman won his last start in Ireland, the Group III JRA Killavullan Stakes. Callaghan indicated that Reddam Racing’s Ontology also is a possibility.
Considered definite for the Generous is Glen Hill Farm’s Global View (Proctor, Talamo), an impressive maiden winner Oct. 27.
Clenor (Doug O’Neill, Talamo), looks like the one to beat in the Miesque. The Irish bred’s three-race winning streak came to an end when she finished eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf Nov. 1.
Other probables for the Miesque are Amarty Racing Stables’ Nesso (Vann Belvoir, Martin Garcia), a close second to Clenor in the Surfer Girl Stakes Oct. 6, Glen Hill Farm’s Savings Account (Proctor, Corey Nakatani), a game winner in her first turf route Nov. 8, and Peak Racing et al’s Love in The Desert (Callaghan, no rider). Reddam Racing’s South Sound, also trained by O’Neill, is a possibility.
The Grade III, $100,000 Grade Vernon O. Underwood kicks off the flurry of stakes with a field of six going six furlongs over Cushion Track. Prominent in the lineup are Patty and Hal Ernhardt’s Roman Threat (Bob Baffert, Garcia), winner of the 2012 Los Angeles Handicap in his only local start, and Brown, Klein and Lebherz’s Majestic Stride (Jeff Bonde, Edwin Maldonado), who was a close fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint Nov. 2.
Post time Thursday is 11 a.m. and track gates will open at 9:30 a.m.
BUSY WEEKS AHEAD FOR HALL OF FAMER GARY STEVENS
Having just returned from a post- Breeders’ Cup celebration with his family in Hawaii, Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens will be racking up even more frequent traveler miles in the coming weeks.
According to his wife, Angie, Stevens leaves for Japan Tuesday, where he will ride Saturday and Sunday in the World Super Jockey Series.
He’ll then take off Monday and head for Hong Kong to compete in the Longines International Jockey Challenge.
Following that, he heads to Tuscon, Arizona where he will be honored with the Big Sport of Turfdom Award.
Having swept the two major preps with Shared Belief and Tamarando, Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer is well stacked for a run at the Grade I, $750,000-guaranteed CashCall Futurity Saturday, Dec. 14.
Tamarando returned from his victory in Saturday’s Real Quiet Stakes in “great shape,” according to Hollendorfer.
Earlier in the meeting, Shared Belief dominated his rivals in the Hollywood Prevue Stakes.
The trainer refuses to compare his two star juveniles, but is pleased with the way both performed and is looking forward to the CashCall.
CLOSING STRIDES —Jockeys Rafael Bejarano, Mike Smith and &*Martin Pedroza* will be in New York Nov. 30 to ride in the Grade I, $500,000 Cigar Mile. Bejarano will be aboard Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents, Smith will ride Laugh Track and Pedroza is set to pilot Private Zone. Smith also rides Fiftyshadesofhay in the Grade III Comely…….Entering Sunday’s card, Bejarano continues to top all riders with 18 victories. The Peruvian native had won at least one race the first nine days of the meet until stymied Nov. 22. He started a new streak Saturday with a victory on Tamarando in the Real Quiet Stakes. Coincidentally on Friday, Joe Talamo tripled, enabling him to move into second place. He’s now five winners behind Bejarano. On the trainer side, Hall of Famer Bob Baffert has overtaken John Sadler to take an 8-7 lead. Don Warren won a total of three races Friday and Saturday to break into the top 10…….Tom Proctor isn’t making any bold predictions about Saturday’s impressive maiden winner Famous Alice, but he was very happy about the daughter of Kitten Joy’s victory. “I never get too excited until they beat winners,” said Proctor……Saturday was a rough day for participants in the $2,500 winner-take-all Show Me The Money contest. The remaining field has been pared to 108.
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